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Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh

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Order of Business
Snippet Contents:

Ba mhaith liom moladh a thabhairt don tseirbhís leabharlainne agus taighde atá againn anseo. Déanann siad obair na gcapall agus tugann siad an-tacaíocht do Sheanadóirí. I commend the support work that is done by the Oireachtas Library and Research Service to help us in our role as Senators and parliamentarians.
I echo the thoughts of my Sinn Féin colleagues that the schedule in the House over the past number of weeks has been lighter than it could have been. To be positive and make constructive recommendations, we often speak about how much European legislation that is laid before the Houses is not debated, so I took an example from the documents laid before the Houses last week. It is quite pertinent to my area of interest as it relates to rural development funding. The document is the Regulation of the European Parliament and of the European Council laying down certain transitional provisions on support for rural development by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and amending certain regulations regarding interim payment procedures for rural development funding for 2014. It goes into some detail about the agreements relating to the Common Agricultural Policy, CAP, and the legal basis for the reformed CAP. It states that transitional rules are needed to define technical arrangements which would permit a smooth adaptation to the new conditions while at the same time ensuring continuity of the different forms of support under the CAP. There will be a great deal of detail in that about payments made to farmers, payments made under the Leader programme and so forth, so it would be beneficial if such matters were discussed here.
There has been much confusion over the last few years about the position with Leader programme funding. Certainly, some local area groups are still confused as to how much funding they will have for the rest of the year. People with projects are asking me to find out when the moneys will be released to them, when they will find out what will be available to them and whether they can make applications under the Leader programme before the end of the year. If there are to be transitional arrangements in place for 2014, it would be useful to debate them with the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Deputy Phil Hogan, and to ascertain what implications they will have for people in rural areas.